WHO IS AN HOSTILE WITNESS?

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Hostile witness is a person who begins to give evidence that is adverse to the interest of the party who called him and is not willing to speak the truth.

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The general rule is that a party producing a witness is not allowed to impeach his witness’ credit during examination-in-chief. 
• An exception to this rule is when the witness is adverse to the party calling him and he does not tell the truth.  S. 230(1) (2) OF THE EVIDENCE ACT.
• Such a witness is called a hostile witness.

 

PROCEDURE

When a Counsel to a party calling a witness discovers that the witness is hostile,

1. he should apply to the Court to declare the witness hostile or
2. Ask that the evidence he has given be expunged from the record. 
3. to contradict him by other evidence or by leave of court, prove that he has made at other times a statement  in consistent with this testimony.
4. Where the court is of the opinion that a witness is hostile to the party who called him, the court will permit the party

S. 230, S 231 EVIDENCE ACTESAN V. STATE; IBEH V. STATE 

 

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE COURT DECLARING A WITNESS AS HOSTILE ARE: 

1. The Court will attach less weight to his testimony or disregard  the testimony he has given 
2. The witness can be cross-examined by the party calling him 
3. He can be contradicted using his previous statements made which is inconsistent with his present testimony 
4. He can be asked leading questions

 

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